Why Getting Named Top Party School Is Bad News For Rowdy Students

Why Getting Named Top Party School Is Bad News

Sorry, Hawkeyes, the fun's over.

The University of Iowa was named the top party school in the nation this week by the Princeton Review. If past is any prologue, school and city officials are about to come down hard on students in Iowa City.

That's not to say Iowa students haven't already been the target of efforts to curb partying. In 2010, the city changed the law so that people under 21 could not be in bars after 10 p.m. The city council then moved to change the law in 2012 so police could more easily break up house parties -- regardless of whether students refuse to open the door, which had become a problem for cops.

But there's sort of a rhythm whenever a new university takes over the top slot of the Princeton Review party school ranking.

Take Penn State University, for instance. The school placed ninth this year on the Princeton Review rankings, but it was No. 1 in 2009. This American Life based one of its most popular episodes on examining what made PSU so raucous. Then-Penn State President Graham Spanier admitted he wished they weren't ranked No. 1.

Spanier insisted he didn't want students not to have fun. Speaking to This American Life, he tried to downplay the ranking's credibility because it's based on student surveys, "and whenever there's an online, web-based thing, Penn State always wins."

"Of course they want to be voted No. 1. Yeah, Penn State!" Spanier said. "Then I have to clean up the mess after the votes are in. Because I got all the donors and alumni, and the media I'm calling for comment."

Spanier then rolled out a 30-point plan in 2010 to curb drinking at Penn State, which included raising alcohol and court fines, adding police and eliminating a well-known excuse for partying called Senior Week. Greeks were pressured into new policies to restrain social gatherings.

Bars were even paid to halt alcohol sales during a big party event known as State Patty's Day.

While students may love it, school officials seem to universally hate having their institution ranked as a top party school. Spanier hated it in 2009, the University of Georgia hated it in 2010, Ohio University hated it in 2011, and West Virginia University denounced it in 2012.

Along with Penn State, other previous champs in the Princeton Review party rankings have pursued efforts to crack down on party shenanigans.

OU rolled out a "Party Legal" campaign, hoping to curb wild partying. In West Virginia, Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla proposed a fire fee for WVU students because they were setting too many blazes in the streets, and after they flipped cars following a football victory.

There's been a lot of fluctuation in the Princeton Review party school list, but few universities who take the No. 1 spot ever totally leave the top 20. So while colleges may pursue efforts to get them out of the No. 1 ranking, actually leaving the list could take years.

When reached earlier this week by The Huffington Post, UI spokesman Tom Moore said the school has lowered the proportion of students engaging in high-risk drinking since 2009.

"At the University of Iowa, we are taking a proactive approach to reducing high-risk drinking by implementing multiple, mutually reinforcing, research-based strategies on campus and in collaboration with our community partners," Moore said, vowing that the university is "committed to continuing this progress."

So watch out, John Blutarsky, they're coming for you.

Before You Go

10. Lehigh University

The Top Party Schools 2014: Princeton Review

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